Excellent example of customer loyalty – New CEO of Nanuk chooses trusted ERP package
Nanuk has a new captain in Paul Sulmon, and this man likes to have a firm hand on the rudder. But he is also a man who is prepared to make radical change. He convinced his shareholders to invest in a new ERP package. And it had to be LISA from Claerhout Computer Engineering, the application with which he put Pralibel on the map. His explanation? “Never change a winning formula: for food companies that have to respond very flexibly to customer requirements, there is no better solution than LISA.”
For years as CEO and co-owner, Paul Sulmon was the driving force behind Pralibel. When the company was sold to the Dutch Huurman family in 2016, he capitalised on his knowledge and assisted food companies by providing advice about production and quality optimisation. “I was contacted fairly quickly by the investors who acquired Nanuk in 2012,” he says. “This semi-artisan producer of fresh and frozen finger food, starters and desserts had its sights on foreign shores, and the shareholders saw me as the right person to lead this important step in the right direction.”
BACK IN TIME
In order to chart Nanuk’s new course, Paul Sulmon decided to subject the company to a thorough analysis. “It quickly became clear that the ERP application was the Achilles’ heel of this company,” he explains. “Nanuk worked with a solution that required a lot of manual input. There was no interface with the accounting package, tracing was insufficiently watertight, there was no control over production, warehouse management was almost completely manual, and the options for analysis were extremely limited.”
LISA UNBEATABLE IN FUNCTIONALITY
It took all of Paul Sulmon’s powers of persuasion to convince the shareholders that investing in a brand new ERP application was necessary. “I’m not a fan of custom solutions, so I didn’t want to try and upgrade the existing package,” he explains. “It would have been better to start from scratch, but with a package that offers almost all the required functionality as standard. In this case, I think LISA is the best application that meets the requirements of food industry SMEs. Especially those, such as Nanuk, that have to be very flexible in order to meet the requirements of their customers.”
In fact, Paul Sulmon was so convinced about LISA that he did not conduct any further market research. The contract was signed with CCE at the end of 2017, after which the ERP supplier started a thorough analysis of the processes and flows within Nanuk. Willem Seghers, project leader and consultant at CCE: “This is necessary to detect the required modules, the order in which they should be implemented, etc. We always aim to respect the LISA standard, but adjustments to the working methods cannot be ruled out.” “But these are often to the customer’s advantage,” continues Paul Sulmon. “On the one hand, the advantages of standardisation are then fully utilised. And on the other, it helps CCE in its quest for process optimisation with LISA. For example, our people on the work floor now have to scan the used ingredients and report each step in the system using a variety of screens. This is a big change in the way they worked previously, with the logical consequence that enthusiasm was initially low. However, CCE can also make a difference in this area: the consultants have a lot of patience and are experts in “translating” IT to the users and vice versa. They provide training that suits the people on the work floor, listen to their comments, and are genuinely interested in tips for improvement. The result is that even the most computer illiterate can make a seamless transition to LISA, and they even realise the added value of the system after some time. Which is of course the most important condition for the investment to pay off.”
Nanuk’s fiscal year ends on 28 February, so the decision was made to prioritise implementation of the LISA FIN accounting module. The old package was switched off on 1 March and LISA FIN came into effect. In the months that followed, we worked diligently on the parameterisation of the other LISA ERP modules. After all, Nanuk had conceived a plan to switch completely to LISA on 1 September. “Paul Sulmon made a conscious choice to start the maximum number of ERP modules at the same time,” says Willem Seghers. “This included purchasing, tracking, production management, warehouse management, EDI, cost prices and sales.” “It was a calculated risk,” the Nanuk CEO continues. “Of course, you can always expect certain teething problems, often involving the users themselves. After all, you might think you’ve explained everything to CCE, but there are always things you’ve overlooked. However, experience has shown that you can count on Claerhout Computer Engineering to provide excellent support. For the first two weeks, two to three people were here full-time, and we were able to count on assistance from one full-time consultant for a long time after that. And of course we can always contact CCE in the future. This is one of the strengths of this ERP supplier: the consultants jump in their cars and visit if necessary. Even at night and over the weekend. The extended 24/6 support from CCE is not an empty promise, but a reality.”
SOLUTION THAT PAYS OFF
Nanuk has now been working with LISA for six months and the application is running optimally. The difference with the previous ERP application is clear, especially in terms of time allocation. “Previously, three or four employees had to spend three to four hours a day retyping data the people on the shop floor had written down on paper,” explains Paul Sulmon. “Now they can spend this time on optimising quality and processes, obtaining certificates, etc. Moreover, we have now given ourselves room to grow without having to recruit additional staff, which means the investment has already paid for itself. And there’s more. There is better control over production, and recipes can be consulted at any time, which means product compositions are more stable and of even higher quality. The price setting is adjusted by LISA based on the current prices of raw material. We already use location management in some warehouses, which allows us to pick faster. Another important optimisation is in label management thanks to the excellent collaboration with The Staff Solutions. Instead of printing labels manually, the process is now controlled by LISA and linked to the correct production order. Finally, we can also draw detailed listings and conduct thorough, well-founded analysis, which opens many doors for optimisation. After all, to measure is to know: you can only take action if you have a realistic view of the situation.”
LISA allows you to draw detailed listings and carry out thorough, well-founded analysis.
THE FINAL DETAILS...
In collaboration with The Staff Solutions, LISA was recently linked to Qlik Sense, a reporting tool that allows data to be visualised in a way that sellers understand and need. The final details of the implementation will be finalised in the coming months. For example, information about allergens, nutritional values, origin of raw materials, etc. will be added to the technical sheets. Willem Seghers: “We also provide a link to the ERP system of the transport company Nanuk works with so transport requests can be sent automatically.” Paul Sulmon: “This will lead to time savings, fewer errors and greater efficiency. These are LISA keywords and things every food industry SME needs in order to maintain its competitive position.” Nanuk is a food company specialised in the production of appetisers, small dishes and desserts. These products are mainly supplied to the Belgian Foodservice market and upmarket food retail chains. Nanuk is ambitious and wants to break into the international market.
Pictures Marc Masschelein